Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Typically the winter season is a depressing one for me, with nothing much to look forward to, except the Christmas holiday, but that too passes away as quickly as it comes. Luckily this winter has not been so severe and in the blogosphere there are always some fun and eventful happenings that keeps you upbeat and on your toes. Even if you don't win a give-away, you always win a few friends. The whole experience of participating and interacting with other bloggers and readers from keeps you in good, cheerful spirit. 

Although blogging can be addictive, it has turned out to be a rewarding learning experience for me in many aspects. Like many others in the blogosphere, ever since starting this blog, I have tried my hands at making some recipes and combinations that I otherwise would not have thought of or cared much for. I have even started to show some interest in learning some traditional recipes and methods from my mother, that I hadn't earlier. While some experiments go terribly wrong and the food goes wasted, leaving you in a state of discouragement and guilt, other experiments go extremely well, making you feel on top of the world.
My most recent experiment is Tiramisu, which had been on my mind for a couple of months now but for some reason I kept postponing it. This one needs no introduction, I think. You have probably seen and read about it in umpteenth food magazines, blogs, food programmes etc. This is a classic dessert but one that I have never tasted before. Tiramisu literally means "pick me up" in Italian, supposedly from the kick you get from all the caffeine in the coffee and the cocoa powder.

I was not too keen on trying the recipes that call for using raw eggs in the cream, so I finally made up my mind on Carminantonio Iannaccon's recipe. Since Carminantonio is an Italian and a chef, and this recipe was posted in Washington Post and featured in the"Daring Baker's Challenge" last year, I felt this recipe was a safe bet. It was much easier to make tiramisu than I had thought. The most difficult and brutal part of making it was to wait for it to set. I started making the zabaglione and the pastry cream on Monday and let it get chilled overnight. Made the whipped cream and assembled the tiramisu on Tuesday and then put it back in the fridge to set overnight. I got to eat it first for breakfast today, as I could not hold myself anymore. :) The tiramisu was very creamy and spongy and tasted quite refreshing mostly from the lemon. Unfortunately, the tiramisu started to melt when I was taking pictures.
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Marsala wine (or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Pastry cream:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup whole milk

Whipped cream:
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the assembly:
2 cups brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon rum extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
36 store-bought ladyfingers
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Shaved nougat or chocolate (optional)

Begin by making the zabaglione. Have ready a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, place a pot with 1 inch of water on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl on it and make sure the bowl does not touch the water beneath. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala wine (or coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture, stirring constantly, at below medium heat for about 8 minutes or until it resembles an airy, lightly thick custard. It will bubble as it reaches that consistency. Continue to whisk and incorporate air into the custard. For me it took about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Next make the pastry cream, by combining the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot. Add half the milk and the egg yolk. Whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan or pot and cook at below medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Add the remaining milk in small amounts, stirring. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, be free of lumps, beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don't worry; push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.) Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. I prepared the whipped cream on the second day, just before assembling the tiramisu. Beat with a large whisk, hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Put it in the fridge till you need it. Have ready a large rectangular serving platter to make the tiramisu. Combine the espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon - this will make it easier to mix without any lumps. Add the refrigerated zabaglione and pastry cream carefully, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set the cream mixture aside.

Working quickly, dip the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover and even out the mixture, all the way to the edges. Repeat to create 2 more layers, using the ladyfingers that are left and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture on the edges of the platter; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer. Cut into individual portions. You can garnish the tiramisu with shaved nougat as I did, or some shaved chocolate. Good luck! I am sending this as my entry to New Year - New Dish by UK Rasoi and Midweek fiesta 8 by Amy.


Sudha said...

Must I tell you how awesome this is!I have been a Tiramisu-lover for quite some years now but have never mustered the courage to make it at home although I see beautiful recipes for this in blogland.Maybe yours could give me the much-wanted courage that I'm looking for:)Loved it absolutely and thanks so much for sharing!

Rathai's recipe said...

You are most welcome, Sudha! :) Do try making tiramisu one day, you'll be surprised by how easy it is. I was also afraid to make tiramisu first. I still would like to taste tiramisu on a restaurant so that I can have something to compare mine with. I think I added a tad more lemon zest, because the main flavours are often mentioned as coffee and cocoa, and mine tasted mostly lemon and cocoa. But then, I'm not a big coffe-lover either. ;)

Sangeetha M said...

perfect tiramisu, looks so delicious and well explained too... bookmarked to try!!
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Amy said...

Looks so delicious Tiramasu. Thanks a lot for linking with Midweek Fiesta

Wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!

Only Fish Recipes said...

wow...tiramisu looks so delicious...perfectly made....lovely pics here :-)

Mahi said...

Tiramisu looks yumm! I've tasted this several times, but still not ready to make it at home! To be frank, all my cakes will be plain cakes, lil scared of icing..whipped creams..etc! My waistline is the main reason for this! Lol!!

Priya dharshini said...

Yummy dessert with an easy ingredients...

Rathai's recipe said...

Thank you guys. Mahi, I could also go on a diet. I'm not as disciplined as you though. But come warmer weather, and I shall be more motivated to sweat out a few pounds. ;)